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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This article is 10 days old from the Telegraph, but I adn't seen it before... Oh, and the EAGM voted yes :cheesy:
Who better to buy the troubled Swedish marque from General Motors than a small, wacky Dutch company?

The first proper and enduring girlfriend I ever had came into my world in the passenger seat of a Saab. It was a 99, white with a blue stripe down the side, and trimmed within with a velour that I'm forced to describe as ginger.
It was her father's and he loved it. This was the late Seventies, in the industrial north of England, when even driving a Mercedes-Benz whiffed faintly of treachery. Driving a Swedish car marked you down as a dangerous radical in need of careful monitoring.

I liked it, too, and so did Geoff Boycott if I'm remembering the ads correctly. It was a good looking car, with a quirky cabin and that nonsense with the ignition key. A year or two later, when we were old enough to drive, we were allowed to borrow it occasionally. But then she pranged it on a roundabout which, as usual, was somehow deemed to be my fault, and soon after that this particular avenue of youthful pleasure was closed to me.

I remember the Saab very clearly. There was something creative and artistic about a Saab that just wasn't there in the Austin Allegro. The father of another girl I liked had a Volvo 244, but that car merely gave automotive substance to his attitude towards my approaches to his daughter – square, edgy, overly concerned with safety. I rarely made it up the driveway, to be honest, because a Volvo just said no. The Saab father was more liberal. I've always liked a Saab.

Eventually, I had one, a 900, in the mid-Nineties, but by then we all knew a Saab was really a Vauxhall/Opel pro-forma with a space marked "insert curious Swedish bit here". The key still went in the wrong place and there were some funny buttons, but driving a Saab was not the wheeled act of defiance it once was. And now, thankfully, Saab has this week been rescued from the scrapheap onto which General Motors threatened to throw it by that wacky Dutch lot, Spyker.

I think the fate of Saab is indicative of what has happened to the art of the car in my lifetime. Once, an individualistic maker like Saab could go its own way and tempt the odd free-thinking father away from the convention of British Leyland and Ford. But then the pressures of legislation and the prohibitive cost of research and development forced them to seek mentors in the form of huge organisations such as GM. This would safeguard the future of smaller marques, and we said this of Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Jaguar and their ilk.

The downside is that when times are tough these marginal car makers are the obvious ones to cast aside, rather in the way that people give up the lobster thermidor rather than the Sunday roast during a recession.
But a part of me also thinks that the argument about research and development costs is nonsense. Yes, the amount of engineering required of a car to meet modern demands has grown enormously, but then modern technology has made, for example, the production of one-off components – "prototyping", to use the industry jargon – much easier. Small volumes, production flexibility and personalisation are the vogue these days, so really the time is right for small car makers, surely?
And here we are (at least at the time of writing) with Spyker and GM reaching a binding agreement over Saab. Spyker can hardly claim to be a big car-making concern. It employs fewer than 200 people and its yearly output equates to what Toyota manufactures every eight minutes or so.

I think this might be interesting. Other, massive car makers would consider Saab as a slightly left-field curiosity; something of an indulgence and a way of making themselves appear more interesting. GM owning Saab is really no different from my old girlfriend's father owning a Saab back in 1978. But to Spyker, Saab is a towering mainstream colossus. Spyker buying Saab is like the treasurer of a residents' association buying Barclays Bank.

But now fire up your internet and take a look at the Spyker C8. Do we really want the people who came up with that to be building a regular four-door saloon?

Yes please.

By James May. Published: 5:59AM GMT 01 Feb 2010
 

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he does take forever to get a point across lol
 

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In the latest season of Top Gear, James made a reference to the new Saab 9-5 and how much he'd like to own one - which I thought was a rather nice promo for Saab during a time when things seemed really uncertain.
 

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In the latest season of Top Gear, James made a reference to the new Saab 9-5 and how much he'd like to own one - which I thought was a rather nice promo for Saab during a time when things seemed really uncertain.
hehe i hope a classic top gear competition comes out of this where they do some type of race and James May drives the new 9-5
 

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Quirky????

Hi
I am always amused when car journalist call Saab quirky. If they actually lived with a Saab day in day out they would realise what they consider to be quirky is actually an engineer applying common sense and not following the pack.
The ignition key in the central console makes complete sense when you have a Saab for a few days. No poking around the steering wheel on a dark night. No swearing and once your muscles have had a bit of training it falls easily and instantly to hand. Couple that with there is much more room to armour the thing against thieves what you are left with is where the ignition key should be if more car engineers had started with a clean sheet of paper.
I have not seen one thing on my car that journalists consider to be quirky that doesnt make perfect common sense when you sit back, live with it for a few weeks and ditch the brain washing of how other cars designers do it traditionally.

Mike
 

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Hi
I am always amused when car journalist call Saab quirky. If they actually lived with a Saab day in day out they would realise what they consider to be quirky is actually an engineer applying common sense and not following the pack.
The ignition key in the central console makes complete sense when you have a Saab for a few days. No poking around the steering wheel on a dark night. No swearing and once your muscles have had a bit of training it falls easily and instantly to hand. Couple that with there is much more room to armour the thing against thieves what you are left with is where the ignition key should be if more car engineers had started with a clean sheet of paper.
I have not seen one thing on my car that journalists consider to be quirky that doesnt make perfect common sense when you sit back, live with it for a few weeks and ditch the brain washing of how other cars designers do it traditionally.

Mike
I've always considered the advantages of the key in the center console to be that it couldn't impale your leg in a collision and that the functions required to start and operate a car were all clustered in the same area; insert and turn key, place into gear and release parking brake, all three conveniently next to each other.

That was a great article though!
 

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I am always amused when car journalist call Saab quirky. If they actually lived with a Saab day in day out they would realise what they consider to be quirky is actually an engineer applying common sense and not following the pack.
I'm hip. It took me about a week to get used to the key in the middle and now it just feels right. Same with the window switches for the 9-5 being in the middle. Sure, locating the ignition and window switches there gets in the way of center console storage (cup holders and coins), but the trade off is worth it for me.

I'm sick of the "quirky" label.
 

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This article is 10 days old from the Telegraph, but I adn't seen it before... Oh, and the EAGM voted yes :cheesy:
Who better to buy the troubled Swedish marque from General Motors than a small, wacky Dutch company?
Other european group that makes money, and not a small company that doesn´t make money on its own. They will get EU or swedish subsidies from taxpayers for some years and after that...who knows? :eek:
But hey, this is better than already dead. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Other european group that makes money, and not a small company that doesn´t make money on its own. They will get EU or swedish subsidies from taxpayers for some years and after that...who knows? :eek:
But hey, this is better than already dead. :roll:
Sorry but don't get the message of your message.
If you are talking about Saab surviving on subsidies .. it's not true.
They have been accorded a relatively small loan by European banks for which they will be paying interest and this loan was guaranteed by the Swedish government. No subsidies and no taxpayer's monies involved. The loan was far from automatic and has been considered a worthwile investment for the EIB.

What is the European Investment Bank ..

The EIB funds its operations by borrowing on the capital markets rather than drawing on the EU budget. The Bank enjoys decision-making independence within the EU’s institutional system.

The EIB’s management and control structures reflect this independence and allow it to take lending decisions solely on the basis of a project’s merits, and tailor borrowing in line with the best opportunities available on the financial markets.
http://www.eib.org/about/structure/index.htm
 

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Hi
I am always amused when car journalist call Saab quirky. If they actually lived with a Saab day in day out they would realise what they consider to be quirky is actually an engineer applying common sense and not following the pack.
The ignition key in the central console makes complete sense when you have a Saab for a few days. No poking around the steering wheel on a dark night. No swearing and once your muscles have had a bit of training it falls easily and instantly to hand. Couple that with there is much more room to armour the thing against thieves what you are left with is where the ignition key should be if more car engineers had started with a clean sheet of paper.
I have not seen one thing on my car that journalists consider to be quirky that doesnt make perfect common sense when you sit back, live with it for a few weeks and ditch the brain washing of how other cars designers do it traditionally.

Mike
With this gentleman, I must agree 100%.
One problem is that the so-called journalists spend a few hours with an automobile rather than a few weeks.Then, its back to their boiler rooms..
I rather see Saab associated with another large automotive company with no fear of innovation, and with Saab as the newest and latest, particularly in electronics..
How about NO "ignition" key at all, just a GO button and a security key to enter the vehicle. Then a "black out" windscreen and side window strip to block the evening sun, replacing the ineffective sun visors.
Or a power hand brake with built in diagnostics.
Some of these things are in use right now, but in aircraft, ships, or big rigs.
Thats one reason why it must be a big company, or in a country with a lot more cooperation between companys.

A shame that GM failed...I feel that our nation failed as well
 

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Hi
I am always amused when car journalist call Saab quirky. If they actually lived with a Saab day in day out they would realise what they consider to be quirky is actually an engineer applying common sense and not following the pack.
The ignition key in the central console makes complete sense when you have a Saab for a few days. No poking around the steering wheel on a dark night. No swearing and once your muscles have had a bit of training it falls easily and instantly to hand. Couple that with there is much more room to armour the thing against thieves what you are left with is where the ignition key should be if more car engineers had started with a clean sheet of paper.
I have not seen one thing on my car that journalists consider to be quirky that doesnt make perfect common sense when you sit back, live with it for a few weeks and ditch the brain washing of how other cars designers do it traditionally.

Mike
All of this is absolutely true. Every other car that I've been in feels terribly stupid compared to my SAAB. Putting the ignition in the center console it not quirky, it's common sense. It's what you do when you're designing a car and not a flashy advertisement built around a low quality, plastic core. It's amazing that GM didn't do more damage than they did.

I love Spyker and I'm now very hopeful that we'll see a good SAAB come out in the next 10 years. It will take that long considering all of the issues that they're going to have to deal with. I honestly can't think of a better company to own SAAB. Their name deserves to be in the logo.

Now, with all of that said, I'm probably going to be crushed when they come out with a swedish Honda Civic. I'm concerned about this 9-1 idea that I've heard some talk about.

Either way, this is the first bit of news in the past 15 years that has made me think that I might buy actually buy a new car one day.
 
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